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Tipsheet

RSLC Effort to Make Gains in Blue States Paying Off, Polls Show

RSLC memo

In March, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) released a memo indicating it was looking to make "meaningful gains" in the Democratic-controlled states of Nevada, Maine, Oregon, and Washington. Polls now indicate that it could happen, as Republicans are leading or in the margin of error in those states on the state legislative generic ballots. The polls were conducted by Cygnal. 

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Republicans are up by 2 percent in Nevada, 48-46 percent. It gets worse for Democrats, as the poll also indicates that elected Democrats in the state legislature are underwater by 6 points, 42-48 percent. Independents favor Republicans by 16 points, while nonpartisan voters favor Republicans by four. 

The poll also indicates that President Joe Biden is dragging Nevada Democrats down, as he has a "dismal image rating" of 41-57 percent. A memo for the poll notes, "Only 40% of those surveyed want the Legislature to support Biden's agenda, while 52% want the Legislature to enact opposite policies to push back on the President." 

Also highlighted in the poll's memo is how grave the economic conditions are in Nevada, which is certainly affecting Democrats as the party in power. The top issue that Nevada voters want their state governments to address is cost of living, chosen by 27 percent of respondents. 

From the poll's memo: 

Nevadans are turned off by Democrats in the Legislature when they learn more about their failed record.

  • Nevadans are 65% less likely to vote for a state legislative candidate who voted for legislation that could lead to higher energy costs.

  • Nevadans are 59% less likely to vote for a state legislative candidate who belongs to the party in power that has given the state the second highest unemployment rate in the country, the second highest gas prices, and made it the second least educated state.

"Nevada Democrats in the Legislature have Nevada at the bottom of the list on every key economic metric as a result of being in lockstep with President Biden's failing liberal agenda," said RSLC Deputy Communications Director Mason Di Palma in a statement. "Nevadans deserve a state legislative body that works for them and not Democrats in Washington D.C. Republicans are building momentum in Nevada and will continue holding Democrats accountable for their failed record as we near November." 

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In Maine, Democrats are up by just 1 percent, 48-47 percent, and independents prefer Republicans by 5 percent. Biden's image is also underwater there, 45-52 percent. 

Not only do 31 percent say their top issue is the cost of living, but the poll's memo indicates no other issue even gets 18 percent. When combining those voters whose issue is creating jobs and growing the economy, 43 percent of voters cite economic issues as their top concern for what they want their state government to handle. 

"As the electorate expands from increased turnout, those additional voters are even more inflation / economic-minded than consistent voters, which bodes poorly for Democrats," the poll's memo notes. 

"With inflation soaring, Mainers realize Democrats in Augusta have failed them and that they cannot afford their agenda of higher taxes on critical items like gas, heating oil, and health care. Voters are ready for change and this November will be turning to Republican candidates who are laser-focused on commonsense policies to bring down the cost of living for their constituents," said RSLC National Press Secretary Stephanie Rivera in a statement. 

Despite how blue Oregon may be, Republicans are leading on the state legislative generic ballot by 4 percent, at 47-43 percent. Further, Democrats in the state legislature are particularly underwater, by 39-52 percent. Biden won the state by 16 points in 2020, which has voted for the Democratic candidate for president every time since 1988. He's now underwater by double digits, 40-57 percent. 

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The top issues in Oregon are addressing the cost of living, at 22 percent, and fighting crime and increasing public safety, at 21 percent. The poll's memo noted that no other issue cracks 15 percent. 

"A decade of Democrat-control in Salem has decreased Oregonians' quality of life in just about every way imaginable," warned RSLC Spokesman Zach Kraft in a statement. "Oregon state Democrats have championed soft-on-crime policies that caused violent crime to skyrocket, weakened the education system by eliminating reading and math standards, and sent the cost of living through the roof by pushing the same failed policies as President Biden. Voters across Oregon have had enough and view Republican state legislators as the remedy to get the state out of a downward spiral and back on the right track." 

It's worth noting that Oregon may be a state to watch this November. The incumbent Biden endorsed, Rep. Kurt, lost his primary in May, and Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball consider the race between Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer to be a "Toss-up." At the state level, the gubernatorial race is actually competitive. 

In covering the RSLC memo and Cygnal poll, the Oregon Capital Chronicle highlighted that Republicans might have a "rare opportunity" this year. 

When it comes to Washington, another bright blue state, Democrats have a particularly narrow lead over Republicans, at 48-46 percent. Not only do Democrats have a particularly narrow lead, but their image is also underwater, at 42-49 percent. 

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Again, this is another state where Biden is dragging fellow Democrats down, despite winning with 58 percent of the vote in 2020. That state has also voted for the Democratic candidate every time since 1988. His approval rating is also underwater, and by double digits, 43-55 percent. 

The poll's memo believes that Republicans are "competitive" due to the issues voters care about. "Republicans are competitive on the state legislative generic ballot because Washingtonians feel Democrats in Olympia are failing them on their top issues – the economy and public safety. Even more concerning for Olympia Democrats? Their policies on those two key issues are drastically out of step with voters, which means Republicans have a chance to gain even more ground," the memo reads. 

Washingtonians, similar to Oregonians, want the state government to address the cost of living, with 25 percent choosing it as a top issue, and combatting violent crime and increasing public safety, with19 percent choosing it as a top issue. 

At the federal level, Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, is up for re-election. Despite the state being considered bright blue and Sen. Murray having won re-election by 18 percentage points in 2016, Sabato's Crystal Ball and Inside Elections regard the race as only "Likely Democratic." 

"Under Democratic control, Washington state has become a hotbed for violent crime and one of the nation's most expensive states to live," RSLC- WA PAC Deputy Communications Director Mason Di Palma said in a statement. "Instead of finding ways to bring down the cost of living and make their streets safer, Democrats in Olympia are in lockstep with a failing president whose policies continue to destroy Washington's economy and make it more dangerous. Republicans are building momentum in Washington and will be holding Democrats accountable on their failed record all the way to Election Day." 

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The polls were conducted June 28-June 30 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.99 percent. 

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